It was time to make a no-frills beer. I’d put lactose, coffee, and spices in a beer, and had it turn out poorly because it had too much hops and a too hot ferment. I’d put spices in another beer with the same yeast and had it, as well, have too much hops and too hot a ferment and turn out poorly. I’d made a beer with way too high an alcohol content in the first place and added more alcohol to it and fermented it hot resulting in fusels.
It seems quite obvious, but a recommendation I’d make to any new brewer is:
Make many, simple, basic recipes first before doing anything crazy. Make a few beers that are very tolerant of wide temperature ranges, like Belgians/Saisons/Wits. Make a few beers with American mid-temp yeast but lots of hops and learn about what impact timing of addition has and what different hop characteristics impart in a beer. Make a few beers with English cool-mid temperature yeasts and learn about different malts and what they do to the body and flavor of a beer. Then, and only then, should you bother making complicated recipes.
I had half a packet of Belle Saison yeast left, had learned that this yeast would be more tolerant of the temperature in my fermentation closet than S04 had been, had some noble hops, and was interested in a local-malted oak-smoked grain at the brew shop. It was time for a simple, four ingredient (water, hops, malt, yeast) beer.
- 19oz 2 row
- 6oz red wheat
- 4 oz oak smoked wheat
- 6oz munich light
- 1/2oz French Strisselspalt
- 1/4oz Brewers Gold
- 1/2pkt Belle Saison
- irish moss
- gelatin fining
Mashed in around 148, Brewer’s Gold for bittering at 60, Strisselspalt for flavor at 20 and aroma at 0, Belle Saison pitched at 70 degrees, put in 75 degree fermentation closet for three weeks. Ferment took of in 24 hours, primary done in 4 days, no transfer, secondary done in two weeks, bottled with conditioning tablets for 14 days.
This beer is great. Best I’d made so far, and brought me great relief to know that I am capable of making a good beer. The smoked flavor didn’t come through very strong, but the hops are nice, earthy, and the beer overall is light, with just enough saison spice.